We present hydrographic and optical data collected concurrently from two different platforms, the R/P FLoating Instrument Platform and the R/V Kilo Moana, located about 2km apart in the Santa Barbara Channel in California. We show that optical variability between the two platforms was due primarily to platform effects, specifically the breakdown of stratification from mixing by the hull of R/P FLIP. Modeled underwater radiance distribution differed by as much as 50% between the two platforms during stratified conditions. We determine that the observed optical variability resulted in up to 57% differences in predicted horizontal visibility of a black target.



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This paper was published in Applied Optics and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-49-15-2784. Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.

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